By Sarah Reynolds for Island Eye News
On Dec. 13, the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission’s executive director was honored with a statewide award. At their annual conference, the South Carolina Recreation and Park Association presented their Professional of the Year award to David Bennett. The SCRPA Professional of the Year nominee must be in the parks and recreation profession at least 15 years, a member of SCRPA for at least five years, and professionally certified through the National Recreation and Park Association. This award considers service, leadership, and character. Charleston native David Bennett has devoted his entire professional career to serving in the park and recreation industry. David began his career as a parttime employee at CCPRC 30 years ago, and was soon promoted to full time as recreation program specialist, where he started the popular Lowcountry Cajun Festival at James Island County Park. He was named chief operating officer in 2010, and became executive director of the agency in 2017 following the retirement of Tom O’Rourke. Among many accomplishments throughout his career, Bennett led the efforts in creating CCPRC’s ten core values, which are now considered the guiding principles of the agency. Bennett is a nationally certified park and recreation professional and has served on the boards of NRPA, SCRPA, Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community, Parents Anonymous and the Wallingford Presbyterian board of Trustees. He has served on the Cooper River Bridge Run board for many years. In 1993 he was honored as the SCRPA Young Professional of the Year, and served as president of SCRPA in 2004.
Bennett holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Park, Recreation and Tourism Management from Mars Hill College. He and his wife Cheryl are the proud parents of Austin (25), Dale (22), Cydney (19) and two rescues dogs, Jack and Little Bear. SCRPA presents several awards each year to recognize agencies, organizations and individuals for outstanding contributions to the park and recreation profession in South Carolina. For more information on SCRPA, visit SCRPA.org